Claude John Hoskin Mitchell of the 5th Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry died at the First Northern General Hospital on 17th December 1914. This may have been from pneumonia that he contracted during training.

Claude was the first person with a North Hill connection to die in the service of his country during the First World War and the one with the shortest service. A lack of records means that our knowledge of his army career is incomplete. Maybe some document or family anecdote could yet emerge to throw some extra light upon Claude's short army career.

When Claude was a little over a year old his mother died and he was then brought up by his grandparents, John Hoskin Mitchell (senior) and Elizabeth Mitchell, who lived in the School House in North Hill village. His ancestry demonstrates his decendancy from many North Hill families who would have been affected by his death.

The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI) records do not show the whereabouts of the 5th Battalion at the end of 1914; however, on 17th December 1914, Claude John Hoskin Mitchell of the 5th Battalion of the DCLI died at the First Northern General Hospital (shown here). This was also known as the Newcastle Armstrong College Hospital and was an educational establishment before being requisitioned for medical purposes by the army in 1914.

Claude's body was buried by the Reverend J.P. Allen on 19th December in Seaton Valley (Cramlington New) Cemetery, near Blyth, Northumberland. His burial was recorded as a military war death and he was given a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone. He is buried close to Private H Toms of the same battalion who died on 16th February 1915. Perhaps he and Private Toms were victims of the rigours of military training twinned with the harsh Northumberland climate.

Perhaps Claude's family could not afford to bring his body home by rail from far-away Northumberland within the short time frame allowable between death and interment.

The images at the top of the page show (L-R): Detail from Claude's gravestone; cap badge of the DCLI; Monument to the DCLI outside the Bodmin Regimental Museum; British War Medal (WW1)